Industry Analyst Best-Ball Draft


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Industry Analyst Best-Ball Draft

We started a Best Ball 10 with our staff and some friends from around the industry and I’ll be blogging the results here. It’s a 20 round draft, we’ll use PPR scoring, and we’ll start 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 FLEX, 1 TE, and 1 defense.

Tom and John will pick back-to-back at 2nd-3rd, Graham is picking 5th, and Joe (7th) and Scott (11th) have to manage the back-half of the first round. We’ll add analysis from around the league often, so make sure you keep this page locked for routine updates.

Round 1

1.011 (overall)Mike ClayChristian McCaffrey, RB, CAR
1.022Tom BrolleySaquon Barkley, RB, NYG
1.033John HansenEzekiel Elliott, RB, DAL
1.044Scott PianowskiAlvin Kamara, RB, NO
1.055Graham BarfieldJoe Mixon, RB, CIN
1.066Tom KessenichDalvin Cook, RB, MIN
1.077Joe DolanDerrick Henry, RB, TEN
1.088Brian DrakeKenyan Drake, RB, ARI
1.099Rich HribarNick Chubb, RB, CLE
1.1010John DaigleMichael Thomas, WR, NO
1.1111Scott BarrettDavante Adams, WR, GB
1.1212T.J. HernandezMiles Sanders, RB, PHI

Analysis: Unsurprisingly, the first round was incredibly RB heavy as nine backs came off of the board before both Michael Thomas and Davante Adams. In most redraft leagues, Thomas should go around 4-5 overall, but since this is best-ball and we don’t have access to a weekly waiver wire, scarcity pushes RBs up the board. After Daigle and Barrett broke the RB train with Thomas/Adams, T.J. Hernandez took Miles Sanders to end the first round. Sanders’ average draft position has been rocketing upward since he’s coming off of a white-hot finish to his rookie season and the Eagles have not added another back that could seriously threaten his workload.

Why Graham went Mixon > Cook: The first four picks were chalk -- McCaffrey, Barkley, Elliott, and Kamara -- but I broke that trend with Mixon at 5 overall. Dalvin Cook is a special player, but the Vikings offense is headed towards a bit of scoring regression, his injury history is incredibly concerning, and now this “holdout” has only increased the risk. Even though Cook has little leverage in his contract negotiations, he could still follow in Melvin Gordon’s footsteps and sit out half of the season to protect his body from further pounding. Meanwhile, Mixon closed the final eight weeks of 2019 as the RB7 in PPR points per game while ranking 3rd in both touches and yards from scrimmage per game on the worst team in football. If Mixon gets just a little more involved in the passing game and Joe Burrow is the truth, we’ll be cooking with gas.

Round 2

2.0113T.J. HernandezTravis Kelce, TE, KC
2.0214Scott BarrettTyreek Hill, WR, KC
2.0315John DaigleGeorge Kittle, TE, SF
2.0416Rich HribarDeAndre Hopkins, WR, ARI
2.0517Brian DrakeChris Godwin, WR, TB
2.0618Joe DolanAaron Jones, RB, GB
2.0719Tom KessenichClyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, KC
2.0820Graham BarfieldAustin Ekeler, RB, LAC
2.0921Scott PianowskiJulio Jones, WR, ATL
2.1022John HansenJosh Jacobs, RB, LV
2.1123Tom BrolleyAllen Robinson, WR, CHI
2.1224Mike ClayMike Evans, WR, TB

Analysis: Scott’s draft position (11 overall) lent itself to a Zero RB build and he’ll immediately have a massive advantage at WR over the rest of this league with his Davante Adams-Tyreek Hill duo. It’ll be interesting to see which RBs he ends up with. After nine of the first 12 picks were backs, just four RBs came off of the board in Round 2. Joe has an amazing, high-ceiling duo with Derrick Henry-Aaron Jones while John has locked down 15-20 rushing TDs right off of the bat with his Ezekiel Elliott-Josh Jacobs duo. RB-RB is the optimal start in building best-ball teams this year, especially when you’re picking between 2 and 8 overall. In a sharp draft room, it was no surprise that both Travis Kelce and George Kittle flew off of the board early in the second to Hernandez and John Daigle. Over the last two years, Kelce and Kittle have finished as a TE1 (top-12) in over 80% of their games -- providing a massive positional advantage even though you only have to start one weekly. Hernandez and Daigle are now free to attack other positions throughout the rest of the draft without worrying about tight end.

Tom’s second/third-round process: John sniped me by taking Josh Jacobs 22nd overall as I saw a major drop in players I was interested in at both running back and wide receiver. Melvin Gordon, Jonathan Taylor, and James Conner were my next favorite options at running back, and I’ve been comfortable taking each of these players starting around this range. I also knew I could get one of those backs with my next pick in the third round at 26 overall with Mike Clay’s two picks sandwiched between my selections. I had Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, and Mike Evans as the next wide receivers I was interested in. I’ve been actively taking A-Rob starting in the early third round, and I’ve mostly been fading Golladay and Evans at their current late-second/early-third round ADPs. I ultimately decided to pull the trigger on A-Rob a little earlier than I’ve been typically doing, but I wanted him more than Evans or Golladay. Mike ended up taking Evans and Leonard Fournette, who I had no interest in at his current price, so I was able to get my favorite RB out of the Gordon/Taylor/Conner grouping.

Round 3

3.0125Mike ClayLeonard Fournette, RB, JAC
3.0226Tom BrolleyMelvin Gordon, RB, DEN
3.0327John HansenAdam Thielen, WR, MIN
3.0428Scott PianowskiKenny Golladay, WR, DET
3.0529Graham BarfieldOdell Beckham, WR, CLE
3.0630Tom KessenichCalvin Ridley, WR, ATL
3.0731Joe DolanLamar Jackson, QB, BAL
3.0832Brian DrakeJames Conner, RB, PIT
3.0933Rich HribarD.J. Moore, WR, CAR
3.1034John DaiglePatrick Mahomes, QB, KC
3.1135Scott BarrettMark Andrews, TE, BAL
3.1236T.J. HernandezJuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, PIT

Analysis: RB scarcity is going to be a running theme in drafts this year and this league is yet another example with only 3 RBs coming off of the board in the third round, two of which were at 25 and 26 overall to Mike Clay (Leonard Fournette) and Tom Brolley (Melvin Gordon). Brolley is off to a hot start with Barkley-Robinson-Gordon and is now freed up to hammer receivers in the mid-rounds. It’s always fun to see how long Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes last in leagues filled with late-round QB adopters, but both Joe and Daigle couldn’t pass them up here. It’ll be interesting to see what Daigle’s RB depth looks like after starting the draft with Michael Thomas, George Kittle, and Patrick Mahomes. Scott is going to have to nail his mid-round running backs, but if you’re going to go Zero RB, Adams-Hill-Andrews is the perfect start.

Round 4

4.0137T.J. HernandezChris Carson, RB, SEA
4.0238Scott BarrettZach Ertz, TE, PHI
4.0339John DaigleTodd Gurley, RB, ATL
4.0440Rich HribarAmari Cooper, WR, DAL
4.0541Brian DrakeCooper Kupp, WR, LAR
4.0642Joe DolanRobert Woods, WR, LAR
4.0743Tom KessenichTerry McLaurin, WR, WAS
4.0844Graham BarfieldJonathan Taylor, RB, IND
4.0945Scott PianowskiA.J. Brown, WR, TEN
4.1046John HansenD.J. Chark, WR, JAC
4.1147Tom BrolleyDavid Johnson, RB, HOU
4.1248Mike ClayCourtland Sutton, WR, DEN

Analysis: The 4th and 5th round is where you want to invest at wide receiver this year. Seven wideouts went in 12 picks -- four of which were top-18 in PPR points per game just a year ago (Kupp, Woods, Cooper, and Chark). Between those four, McLaurin, Sutton, and Brown, it’s a safe bet at least three extremely high-value picks were made here. In a year where running backs are being pushed up the board, some of the receiver value is truly insane. Amari Cooper, A.J. Brown, and Cooper Kupp each had four or more weeks with 20+ PPR points while Chris Godwin, who went 17 overall, had 5 such weeks last year. We’re always searching for ceiling performances (think 20+ points) at wide receiver and you can still find alpha WR1’s past 40 overall.

Round 5

5.0149Mike ClayKeenan Allen, WR, LAC
5.0250Tom BrolleyD.K. Metcalf, WR, SEA
5.0351John HansenCam Akers, RB, LAR
5.0452Scott PianowskiTyler Lockett, WR, SEA
5.0553Graham BarfieldStefon Diggs, WR, BUF
5.0654Tom KessenichDeVante Parker, WR, MIA
5.0755Joe DolanJ.K. Dobbins, RB, BAL
5.0856Brian DrakeA.J. Green, WR, CIN
5.0957Rich HribarDevin Singletary, RB, BUF
5.1058John DaigleLe’Veon Bell, RB, NYJ
5.1159Scott BarrettDavid Montgomery, RB, CHI
5.1260T.J. HernandezDeebo Samuel, WR, SF

Analysis: After starting his draft Thomas-Kittle-Mahomes, John Daigle dipped into the RB pool in back-to-back rounds with Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell as his RB1 and RB2. If this were 2017, Daigle would already have his check in the mail. Seriously, though -- this is the latest we’ve seen Bell go all year. He’s usually off of the board in the late-3rd or early-4th round, but in a room without Adam Gase apologists, Bell slipped to 58 overall. To this point, we’ve had exactly 26 RBs and 27 WRs taken. After the first round, WR value starts to catch up to the running backs in a hurry.

Note: Hernandez took Deebo Samuel just a few hours before the news of his broken foot announced. Brutal.

Round 6

6.0161T.J. HernandezMichael Gallup, WR, DAL
6.0262Scott BarrettD’Andre Swift, RB, DET
6.0363John DaigleMarquise Brown, WR, BAL
6.0464Rich HribarMark Ingram, RB, BAL
6.0565Brian DrakeWill Fuller, WR, HOU
6.0666Joe DolanTyler Boyd, WR, CIN
6.0767Tom KessenichDamien Williams, RB, KC
6.0868Graham BarfieldT.Y. Hilton, WR, IND
6.0969Scott PianowskiDiontae Johnson, WR, PIT
6.1070John HansenKareem Hunt, RB, CLE
6.1171Tom BrolleyJarvis Landry, WR, CLE
6.1272Mike ClayDarren Waller, TE, OAK

Analysis: We’re obviously biased, but no one had a better start to this draft than Hansen. Elliott-Jacobs-Thielen-Chark-Akers-Hunt is about as close to perfect that you can get from third overall. Scott Pianowski has gone with a Modified Zero RB approach since taking Alvin Kamara, ripping off a stretch of five straight wide receivers. If he nails some RB values in Rounds 8-11, Pianowski might have the best team in the league. His Julio Jones-Kenny Golladay-A.J. Brown-Tyler Lockett-Diontae Johnson WR corps will be able to do some serious damage. Scott Barrett went Zero RB along with Daigle and collected his first backs here at the turn in David Montgomery and D’Andre Swift to go with his crazy WR/TE corps (Adams, Hill, Andrews, Ertz). Meanwhile, Mike Clay has quietly executed a really nice balanced lineup around Christian McCaffrey. After already getting his three starting wideouts (Evans/Sutton/Allen), nabbing Darren Waller rounds out the core of his team nicely.

Round 7

7.0173Mike ClayRaheem Mostert, RB, SF
7.0274Tom BrolleyMarvin Jones, WR, DET
7.0375John HansenChristian Kirk, WR, ARI
7.0476Scott PianowskiDak Prescott, QB, DAL
7.0577Graham BarfieldJamison Crowder, WR, NYJ
7.0678Tom KessenichBrandin Cooks, WR, HOU
7.0779Joe DolanDarius Slayton, WR, NYG
7.0880Brian DrakeDeshaun Watson, QB, HOU
7.0981Rich HribarEvan Engram, TE, NYG
7.1082John DaigleMecole Hardman, WR, KC
7.1183Scott BarrettJulian Edelman, WR, NE
7.1284T.J. HernandezKyler Murray, QB, ARI

Analysis: Two backs fell 20 spots past their average draft position in this draft between Le’Veon Bell (Picked: 58 overall; ADP: 38) and Raheem Mostert (Picked: 73 overall; ADP: 53). In a room filled with sharp fantasy minds, we’re all collectively lower on the Jets offense and don’t have as much confidence in Mostert as the public does. Bell is strictly a volume play whereas you’re betting on somewhat random, but week-winning spiked weeks for Mostert. Last year, Bell ranked 5th among RBs in snap rate (83%) but was only the RB19 in fantasy points per game in the Jets low octane attack. Now Frank Gore and Lamical Perine are threats to his bell-cow workload. In Mostert’s case, we’ll always be wary of 27-year-old running back breakouts who bounced around the NFL before landing in a perfect scheme. We’ve been shying away from Bell and Mostert this offseason and, in a league where you have to start three wide receivers, this draft room wisely let these over-valued mid-round backs slide.

Round 8

8.0185T.J. HernandezTevin Coleman, RB, SF
8.0286Scott BarrettJames White, RB, NE
8.0387John DaigleAlexander Mattison, RB, MIN
8.0488Rich HribarMarlon Mack, RB, IND
8.0589Brian DrakeDerrius Guice, RB, WAS
8.0690Joe DolanJohn Brown, WR, BUF
8.0791Tom KessenichRussell Wilson, QB, SEA
8.0892Graham BarfieldJosh Allen, QB, BUF
8.0993Scott PianowskiJordan Howard, RB, MIA
8.1094John HansenTyler Higbee, TE, LAR
8.1195Tom BrolleyRonald Jones, RB, TB
8.1296Mike ClayKe’Shawn Vaughn, RB, TB

Analysis: We had a massive run on running backs here with eight flying off of the board in 12 picks. After a Zero RB start, Barrett landed his RB3 in James White (to pair with Montgomery/Swift). Pianowski bookended his Modified Zero RB start with one of our favorite RB values in Jordan Howard. And, both Bucs’ backs were taken back-to-back by Brolley (Jones) and Clay (Vaughn) to close out the round. It’s officially no longer a contrarian opinion to have Jones over Vaughn for redraft leagues as RoJo has usurped Vaughn in ADP over the past few weeks. We have Vaughn over Jones in our projections, but not by much. Jones obviously is the incumbent and that’s a big reason why his ADP has spiked recently, but if you’re looking to fade that narrative, the window to buy Vaughn is wide open.

Round 9

9.0197Mike ClayTarik Cohen, RB, CHI
9.0298Tom BrolleyHayden Hurst, TE, ATL
9.0399John HansenBreshad Perriman, WR, NYJ
9.04100Scott PianowskiMatt Ryan, QB, ATL
9.05101Graham BarfieldJalen Reagor, WR, PHI
9.06102Tom KessenichMatt Breida, RB, MIA
9.07103Joe DolanZack Moss, RB, BUF
9.08104Brian DrakeSony Michel, RB, NE
9.09105Rich HribarKerryon Johnson, RB, DET
9.10106John DaigleLatavius Murray, RB, NO
9.11107Scott BarrettMike Williams, WR, LAC
9.12108T.J. HernandezCeeDee Lamb, WR, DAL

Analysis: There weren't many picks of note in this round, other than Brolley taking Hayden Hurst a little bit ahead of his ADP. After the top-4 TEs (Kelce, Kittle, Andrews, Ertz) are all gone, it makes a ton of sense to wait until Round 9 or later to think about TE again. Going from the most run-heavy offense in the NFL to a pass-first team is the most glaring positive for Hurst’s fantasy stock in Atlanta. Over the last two seasons, the Falcons lead the NFL in pass attempts (1,394) while the Ravens are 3rd from last (1,054). Add in the fact that Atlanta doesn’t have a true No. 3 wide receiver or a great pass-catching back and it’s easy to see how Hurst pays off as a 9th round pick.

Round 10

10.01109T.J. HernandezCarson Wentz, QB, PHI
10.02110Scott BarrettRobby Anderson, WR, CAR
10.03111John DaigleTony Pollard, RB, DAL
10.04112Rich HribarPhillip Lindsay, RB, DEN
10.05113Brian DrakeRob Gronkowski, TE, TB
10.06114Joe DolanDuke Johnson, RB, HOU
10.07115Tom KessenichHunter Henry, TE, LAC
10.08116Graham BarfieldNoah Fant, TE, DEN
10.09117Scott PianowskiChase Edmonds, RB, ARI
10.10118John HansenDaniel Jones, QB, NYG
10.11119Tom BrolleyJerry Jeudy, WR, DEN
10.12120Mike ClayDarrell Henderson, RB, LAR

Analysis: After Hurst goes off of the board, the late-round tight end market is a total free for all. In this room, we were all collectively lower on Austin Hooper as Gronk, Henry, and Fant all went ahead of the former-Falcon. Now on a run-first Cleveland squad behind two target hogs in Beckham and Landry, the path for Hooper to replicate his 2019 season will be tough. Last year, Hooper was the TE3 in PPR points per game behind Kelce and Kittle. Meanwhile, Rich Hribar may have gotten the steal of the draft at running back with Phillip Lindsay at 10.04. Melvin Gordon went 3.02 to Brolley. There is no doubt the Broncos signed Gordon to be their featured back, but Lindsay still has a path to flirt with high-end RB3 fantasy numbers as Denver’s change-of-pace back and he obviously has a top-20 ceiling if Gordon misses any time.

Round 11

11.01121Mike ClayTom Brady, QB, TB
11.02122Tom BrolleyMatthew Stafford, QB, DET
11.03123John HansenBaker Mayfield, QB, CLE
11.04124Scott PianowskiAustin Hooper, TE, CLE
11.05125Graham BarfieldEmmanuel Sanders, WR, NO
11.06126Tom KessenichAaron Rodgers, QB, GB
11.07127Joe DolanT.J. Hockenson, TE, DET
11.08128Brian DrakeJared Cook, TE, NO
11.09129Rich HribarMike Gesicki, TE, MIA
11.10130John DaigleDeSean Jackson, WR, PHI
11.11131Scott BarrettGolden Tate, WR, NYG
11.12132T.J. HernandezJonnu Smith, TE, TEN

Analysis: Hansen’s strong draft continued in Round 10-11 when he doubled up at QB with Daniel Jones and Baker Mayfield. Danny Dimes had four games with 30 or more fantasy points in just 12 starts as a rookie while Aaron Rodgers had four 30+ games in 16 starts last year. We had another run on TEs in this range, too, with Hooper, Hockenson, Cook, Gesicki, and Jonnu Smith all coming off of the board in nine picks. Brian Drake doubled up in Round 10-11 with a nice Rob Gronkowski-Jared Cook pairing that should offer a ton of TD upside.

Round 12

12.01133T.J. HernandezJustin Jackson, RB, LAC
12.02134Scott BarrettPreston Williams, WR, MIA
12.03135John DaigleSammy Watkins, WR, KC
12.04136Rich HribarDrew Brees, QB, NO
12.05137Brian DrakeBen Roethlisberger, QB, PIT
12.06138Joe DolanAnthony Miller, WR, CHI
12.07139Tom KessenichDallas Goedert, TE, PHI
12.08140Graham BarfieldBlake Jarwin, TE, DAL
12.09141Scott PianowskiChris Herndon, TE, NYJ
12.10142John HansenSterling Shepard, WR, NYG
12.11143Tom BrolleyJoe Burrow, QB, CIN
12.12145Mike ClayCurtis Samuel, WR, CAR

Analysis: After starting his draft with Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill, Barrett attacked RB/TE in the mid-rounds and finally came back to attacking receivers with four-straight picks in Round 9-12 (Mike Williams, Robby Anderson, Golden Tate, and Preston Williams). Hribar has done a nice job of vacuuming up value all draft long and just scored Drew Brees as his QB1. Meanwhile, Dolan and Hansen made two of the best WR value picks of the draft in Anthony Miller 138 overall) and Sterling Shepard (142). Both wideouts play in the slot often and should easily have 60 receptions this year if they stay healthy.

Round 13

13.01146Mike ClayHenry Ruggs, WR, LVR
13.02147Tom BrolleyJace Sternberger, TE, GB
13.03148John HansenMichael Pittman, WR, IND
13.04149Scott PianowskiHunter Renfrow, WR, LVR
13.05150Graham BarfieldBoston Scott, RB, PHI
13.06151Tom KessenichBrandon Aiyuk, WR, SF
13.07152Joe DolanJared Goff, QB, LAR
13.08153Brian DrakeAntonio Brown, WR
13.09154Rich HribarDevonta Freeman, RB
13.10155John DaigleRyan Tannehill, QB, TEN
13.11156Scott BarrettJack Doyle, TE, IND
13.12157T.J. HernandezJimmy Garoppolo, QB, SF

Analysis: Brolley wrapped up an expert-level demonstration in the late-round QB/TE strategy after alternating between RB/WR for the first eight rounds with Stafford-Burrow at quarterback and Hurst-Sternberger at TE. Burrow in particular is a fantastic best-ball value with all of the Bengals weapons at his disposal. Cincinnati’s defense should give up a lot of points, too, which will lend itself to more pass-heavy game-scripts for Burrow. Kessenich took Brandon Aiyuk well ahead of his current ADP (17th-18th round) after the news of Deebo Samuel’s broken foot came down. You could have made the argument that Aiyuk should have been much closer to Ruggs and Pittman in ADP even before Samuel hurt his foot.

Round 14

14.01158T.J. HernandezN’Keal Harry, WR, NE
14.02159Scott BarrettIan Thomas, TE, CAR
14.03160John DaigleEric Ebron, TE, PIT
14.04161Rich HribarKirk Cousins, QB, MIN
14.05162Brian DrakeA.J. Dillon, RB, GB
14.06163Joe DolanIrv Smith, TE, MIN
14.07164Tom KessenichNyheim Hines, RB, IND
14.08165Graham BarfieldTeddy Bridgewater, QB, CAR
14.09166Scott PianowskiGardner Minshew, QB, JAX
14.10167John HansenAnthony McFarland, RB, PIT
14.11168Tom BrolleyParris Campbell, WR, IND
14.12169Mike ClayJustin Jefferson, WR, MIN

Analysis: Clay landed two rookie WRs in back-to-back rounds with Henry Ruggs (13.01) and Justin Jefferson (14.12). Neither Ruggs or Jefferson may end being their team’s No. 1 passing target in 2020, but you can’t argue that both are nice values at those prices. Fellow rookies that went in the first round of the NFL Draft, Jalen Reagor (9.05) and CeeDee Lamb (9.12), both went much earlier. This round also further illuminates not only how deep receiver is this year but just how easy it is to roll a late-round QB strategy. Cousins, Bridgewater, and Minshew are all more than serviceable QB2’s with paths to top-18 fantasy output at the position. Everyone loves the Panthers weapons and no one expects their defense to be any good -- but no one wants to draft Bridgewater. And Minshew is the late-round Konami Code special for this season (hat-tip to Rich Hribar). Minshew trailed only Lamar Jackson in rushing yards off of scrambles last year despite making 12 starts.

Round 15

15.01170Mike ClayDrew Lock, QB, DEN
15.02171Tom BrolleyRyquell Armstead, RB, JAX
15.03172John HansenJoshua Kelly, RB, LAC
15.04173Scott PianowskiRavens D/ST
15.05174Graham BarfieldSam Darnold, QB, NYJ
15.06175Tom KessenichPhilip Rivers, QB, IND
15.07176Joe DolanSteven Sims, WR, WAS
15.08177Brian DrakeSteelers D/ST
15.09178Rich HribarO.J. Howard, TE, TB
15.10179John DaigleGerald Everett, TE, LAR
15.11180Scott Barrett49ers D/ST
15.12181T.J. HernandezAntonio Gibson, WR, WAS

We still have five rounds to finish up, but since we’ll mostly be taking longshots and defenses, we’ll end the blog here. If you want to check out the rest of the draft board, head here. Thanks for following along!